Breakfast with Dad and DH and the little one this morning. Always good, sometimes awkward. Today was rushed with a million things to do and weekend plans still falling into place, and … and … and.
I overhear at the table behind us, “Blah-blah-blah … Halloween decorations on one side, Christmas on the other … blah, blah … whatever happened to Thanksgiving?”
I sigh. I see DH twitch a bit, because he knows the look on my face means he’s about to be subjected to a tirade about stuff that sends me over the edge. I have a look … he knows it … he has braced himself. But, since we’re in a public venue, I simply take a deep breath, and give the table an ever-so-brief glimpse of WHY said situation probably exists. I’ll share it with you later in this piece. Anyway …
I’ve heard the same conversation over and over a thousand times. And while we all have opinions, and we all have feelings about different things, I have to say I’m sick of this conversation.
Well, here’s the way I look at it. I think a certain segment of the population that will remain nameless here because then I make less people angry have these repetitious conversations about small things that they personally believe they can do nothing about. Still, they continue to talk ad nauseam about said subjects, complaining without any
desire hope of resolve. Why?
Somehow, I think people feel like, when the talk about something they DO make a difference. Or at the very least, belong. There’s this psychological view of “Group Feelings.” Here’s what the site (http://io9.com/5813475/10-psychological-states-youve-never-heard-of–and-when-you-experienced-them) says about them:
Some psychologists argue that there are some feelings we can only have as members of a group — these are called intergroup and intragroup feelings. Often you notice them when they are in contradiction with your personal feelings. For example, many people feel intergroup pride and guilt for things that their countries have done, even if they weren’t born when their countries did those things. Though you did not fight in a war, and are therefore not personally responsible for what happened, you share in an intergroup feeling of pride or guilt. Group feelings often cause painful contradictions. A person may have an intragroup feeling (from one group to another) that homosexuality is morally wrong. But that person may personally have homosexual feelings. Likewise, a person may have an intragroup feeling that certain races or religions are inferior to those of their group. And yet they may personally know very honorable, good people from those races and religions whom they consider friends. And group feeling can only come about through membership in a group, and isn’t something that you would ever have on your own. But that doesn’t mean group feelings are any less powerful than personal ones.
These … verbal ascents … permeate our society. Those of us that fight against (but often fail) groupthink recoil at the thought of just falling into a poorly thought out, cliched conversation. I know, sitting here in the seat of judgement here, but man. Can’t we think of something else to talk about? Or at least do something about what we complain about?
Here’s my thought about the Thanksgiving thing. Do you know why stores push through the holiday of Thanksgiving? Here’s my opinion:
How do you monetize thankfulness? Sure, there are turkeys and pilgrims and all … but how many people (in the grand scheme of the other two holidays) go all out decorating for Thanksgiving? I mean, there is the food … but even that usually lies in the “raw materials” of a home cooked meal, right? Don’t people realize that, if a store could make a lot of money by promoting Thanksgiving, they would?
Or, when did the whole idea that Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated in corporate America have anything — and I mean ANYTHING — to do with our ability to celebrate being thankful? All the stores do is accentuate our ability to be consumers, right? They make it possible to “buy stuff.” NOT celebrate. Not “be thankful.” All stores do is make it possible to buy stuff that somehow some people substitute for the holiday, Hmmm …
I like to celebrate just like the next person. And while I, sadly, fully participate in the consumerism that surrounds holidays (especially Christmas), what the stores decorate for, or what I can or cannot buy, has nothing to do with my ability to celebrate. If they made more money by “pushing” Thanksgiving, you bet they would. It has nothing to do with an attack on Christianity, folks. Sorry. I don’t buy it. You’ll have to look for your persecution somewhere else.
Here’s the deal. If you want to celebrate Thanksgiving, do it despite what the stores display. In fact, thanksgiving is one of those “things” we should be celebrating day in and day out! If you want to say “Merry Christmas” when the time comes along, say it. Most people could care less. In fact, if you say “Merry Christmas” as you are giving donations to help people, or smiling at a haggard salesperson, or feeding the homeless, or distributing home-baked goods to peripheral people in your life, my guess is your “Merry Christmas” might become one of the best parts of their happy holidays. If you want to forget the pagan origins of Christmas, and Easter and celebrate the Christianized standard, please do! But do it with a heart that faithfully reflects the savior you serve.
OK. My blog … my rant.
But can I say one more thing? As a proponent of personal responsibility, can I just ask one thing? Then next time you want to delve into “group feelings,” can you attempt to take a breath and try and remember absolute statements (“always,” “never,” etc.) are usually NOT true. No race, religion, political party, economic status, sports team fans, or any of the like are “always or never” anything, folks. I am a person who absolutely HATES being grouped into a bunch of people for which I have some affinity for and being grouped together with them and labeled. All of us are individuals, true? Grouping like that makes hatred much more feasible. Stripping away a person’s individuality helps us hate people — countries — religious groups. It makes things like genocide and slavery possible. And while sometimes I am proud to be known as something (in my family, a part of my church), I do not want to be judged by them — or for them to be judged by me.
So … there we go. Express your first amendment rights all you want. But know there might be at least one person who is hearing you and feeling highly frustrated that you are squandering your rights to propagate bias and hatred and craziness. Don’t let stores determine your holiday mood. Don’t let your personal prejudice keep you from making friends and influencing people. And please, if you claim to be a believer, please do all things in love.